Poison Ivy!!

Today’s post is part “public service announcement” and part “terrified allergy sufferer!”

My children’s school recently had an earth day festival and as yearbook editor I had fun running around snapping pics of one of my favorite subjects – kids learning about nature!  It was the perfect combination of mom, photog and former biology teacher.  Elementary school kids have such amazing curiosity about the world around them.  I just love watching the wonder and seeing the world around me through their eyes.  I had a great time!

Part of the festivities included a nature walk where the guide pointed out poison ivy for all the kids to see.  I snapped a few pictures of thismy mortal enemy!

okay… okay…  I’m being a bit dramatic… but the last time I got poison ivy my face swelled up, my eye swelled shut, I itched for what felt like months before it was finally all gone (2 steroid packs and a shot later) and I think I have developed a good healthy fear of the stuff!  On top of that it all happened exactly one week before I was to be a bridesmaid in a good friend’s wedding… thank goodness for steroid shots that helped me look somewhat normal!

It’s unfortunate because I have many happy memories of hiking through the woods, completely carefree, discovering all sorts of treasures… while my children have been thoroughly taught not to venture too far off the path for fear that their shoes (which I still frequently have to tie – meaning I touch them with my hands…) might track poison ivy oils back into our home.  It’s difficult to find a balance between my love for the outdoors and my desire to teach my children to love the outdoors with my fear of itching uncontrollably.  I drive my husband crazy when we make campfires because he tells the kids to go collect sticks and I’m panicking – “But what if they pick up a stick that’s been laying in poison ivy?????”  Can we say… worry-wort??

Still – knowledge is power right?  If I can identify the plant and vines – and teach my children to do so as well… in addition to some other smart tips like wearing long pants, socks, etc. on hikes we can still enjoy our nature outings.  Our guide taught the kids a rhyme most of us have heard before “Leaves of three, let them be.”  He also pointed out how shiny these leaves appear along with the bits of red that are often visible.

Finally, he pointed out the hairy vines on the tree and said that those were also poison ivy.  I’ll take his word for it!  If anyone knows any different let me know – again – the more we know the easier it is to avoid the stuff!

Anyway – long, long story short I thought I’d share in case anyone else is unsure of what to look for when you’re out in the woods.  My PSA for the day!:)

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